The Bachem Ba349 Natter was a rocket-propelled bomber interceptor, essentially a manned surface-to-air missile, developed by Germany in the last desperate months of World War II. The Natter was the winning design among four submitted for a "Small Point Interceptor" in late 1944. Built primarily of wood and simple materials the disposable aircraft was easy to build and made little demand on critical materials because by that time Germany's infrastructure was near total collapse.
Aided by four Schmidding 109-503 solid-propellant rocket boosters of 1,100 lb. thrust each, the aircraft was launched vertically. An autopilot controlled the ascent until the aircraft neared its bomber targets. At that point the pilot would disengage the autopilot and attack his targets with the twenty-four Henschel Hs 217 73-mm rockets mounted in the nose of the aircraft.
The Natter would then descend as a glider to an altitude of 4,600 feet at which point the nose portion of the aircraft would separate allowing the pilot to bailout for a parachute landing.
Thirty airframes were built but only ten reached operational status by May of 1945 when the Allied advance ended the Natter's development and deployment. None saw any combat.
Planes of Fame Air Museum's replica was built by George Lucas of Nunda, New York.
Manufacturer: Bachem Werke GmbH
Year: Based on 1945 aircraft
Model: Ba-349 Natter
Max T/O Weight: 4,921 lb.
Span: 13 ft. 1 in.
Length: 19 ft. 8 in.
Height: 7 ft. 5 in.
Maximum Speed: 620 mph
Cruise Speed: 500 mph
Rate of Climb: 37,000 ft/min
Power Plant: 1 x Walter HWK 109-509A-2 rocket motor and four solid-propellant booster rockets, 2,500 lbf.